AOP PRESENTS “FIRST GLIMPSE” OF EMERGING COMPOSERS & LIBRETTISTS IN BROOKLYN

April 24, 2014
C&V Fellows 2013-14

COMPOSER DARON HAGEN HOSTS

WORLD PREMIERE SONGS FROM THE 2013-14 
SEASON OF COMPOSERS & THE VOICE

BROOKLYN, NY, April 24, 2014– On Sunday, May 18 and Monday, May 19, 2014 at 7:30pm AMERICAN OPERA PROJECTS (AOP) will present COMPOSERS & THE VOICE: FIRST GLIMPSE 2014, the first public presentation of compositions developed during this season’s Composers & the Voice (C&V) program. Composer Daron Hagen hosts the concert of songs written by five emerging composers – Guy Barash, Avner Finberg, Jeremy Gill, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Gity Razaz – and one composer/librettist team, Joseph Rubinstein and Jason Kim, who were chosen by AOP to spend a year creating new works focusing on the operatic voice. The performances will be held at South Oxford Space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the home of AOP. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for students/seniors and are available at www.operaprojects.org.

Composer Daron Hagen (AmeliaA Woman in Morocco) will host the concert. In addition to seven months of workshop training sessions, the C&V fellows received one-on-one mentoring from Mr. Hagen, as well as esteemed composers Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, John Musto, Tobias Picker, Stephen Schwartz and librettist Mark Campbell. Each of these distinguished artists review their fellow’s work, offer feedback, and participate in C&V discussions.

The AOP Resident Ensemble of Singers performing at First Glimpse are sopranos Deborah Lifton (Center for Contemporary Opera, Encompass New Opera Theatre, Joy In Singing Competition Winner) and Kristin Sampson (Best Female Performer Award- Mezzo Television Armel Opera Competition, Dicapo Opera Theatre, Santa Fe Opera), mezzo Rachel Calloway (Castleton Festival, Gotham Chamber Opera, PROTOTYPE), tenor Dominic Armstrong (New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago), baritone Jorell Williams (Caramoor International Music Festival, New York City Encores!, Opera Theatre of St. Louis), and bass-baritone Matthew Burns (Bard SummerScape, Boston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera). Supporting on piano will be Composers & the Voice Music Directors Mila Henry, Kelly Horsted, and Charity Wicks.

Created and led by Artistic Director Steven Osgood (and former Artistic Director of AOP), Composers & the Voice began in 2002 and is currently in its seventh season.American Opera Projects selects six composers for a year-long fellowship to work with the company’s Resident Ensemble of Singers for the nationally recognized workshop series, with additional training in acting, improv, and libretto study. The primary focus of Composers & the Voice is to give composers and librettists experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage. Participants meet in closed sessions from September to April to present and discuss new works composed specifically for the individual voices of the Resident Ensemble.

Composers & the Voice is made possible in part by a generous multi-year award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Composers & the Voice fellows are supported, in part, by funding from The Victor Herbert Foundation.

First Glimpse 2014 on May 18 and 19 will be the first public performances of compositions created during this year’s workshops. In September 2014, the Composers & the Voice fellows will return from a summer hiatus with Six Scenes, an evening of short opera scenes presented as part of AOP’s First Chance series. One of these scenes will be selected to receive a staged reading at Manhattan School of Music in Spring 2015 as part of their annual “New American Opera Previews, from Page to Stage”.

FG14-banner-5_1

AMERICAN OPERA PROJECTS presents

Composers & the Voice: First Glimpse 2014
World Premiere Songs from the 2013-14 Season of Composers & the Voice

COMPOSITIONS BY: Guy Barash, Avner Finberg, Jeremy Gill, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Gity Razaz, Joseph Rubinstein and Jason Kim
MUSIC DIRECTION: Mila Henry, Kelly Horsted, Charity Wicks
PERFORMANCES BY: Deborah Lifton, Kristin Sampson, Rachel Calloway, Dominic Armstrong, Jorell Williams, Matthew Burns
HOSTED BY: Daron Hagen

COMPOSERS & THE VOICE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Steven Osgood

Sunday, May 18 and Monday, May 19, 7:30 p.m. 
South Oxford Space
138 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center
D, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train: Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Terminal – Barclays Center
Bus: B25, B26, B45, B52, B63, all stop within three blocks of South Oxford Space

Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM and Barclays Center

Tickets: $15 General Admission, $10 Students/Seniors
Tickets available at www.operaprojects.org 

Complete information about Composers & the Voice and this year’s artists can be found at www.operaprojects.org/composers_voice

ADDITIONAL PROJECT INFO AND PRESS MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT: http://www.operaprojects.org

PRESS PHOTOS AVAILABLE HERE.

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INSIDE Composers & the Voice – Session 4

October 31, 2013

Untitled

 Composers & the Voice – 2013-14 Librettist Fellows, Jason Kim

American Opera Project’s Composers & the Voice program has been well under way during what’s turning out to be a chilly New York fall.

At the fourth session, held on October 28th, the group began the evening with an improv workshop led by the fantastic Terry Greiss of the Irondale Ensemble. Terry guides us in fluid, relaxed, enjoyable improv sessions, and this one was no different. Our musical brains were immediately engaged when Terry asked us to pick a song that everybody would know and then to sing the song out loud while walking around the rehearsal space. The goal: have every single person sing the same song under three minutes’ time. After some failed attempts, including a botched rendition of America the Beautiful, we were able to settle into a lovely chorus of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

In addition to being sheer fun, the improv sessions help C&V think about performance three-dimensionally. Through improv, we are able to experience what it might feel like to be a performer and to think critically about space, tension, and interconnectedness.

The second half of the evening was dedicated to discussing a handful of topics related to our opera curriculum. For the past several weeks, we have been busy analyzing two scores: Puccini’s La Boheme and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. By mapping out each singer’s range, we are able to gather what Puccini and Mozart had in mind both musically and thematically. Why for instance does Marcello sing syllabically when Musetta sings melismatically at a very high register? In what ways does Despina’s role change when she is in disguise?

Despina’s disguise in the opera Cosi fan tutte (at 1:15:36)

Because we are writing for six different voice types – bass/baritone, baritone, tenor, mezzo, dramatic soprano, and lyric coloratura – investigating Puccini and Mozart has been tremendously clarifying in thinking about the various needs and expectations of each voice. Speaking of voice type, Steve Osgood, Artistic Director of AOP, directed us in a fun exercise: listing an array of adjectives that come to mind when thinking of each voice. Many patterns came to surface. Composers often write heroic roles for baritones while leaving the romantic parts to tenors. Coloraturas are often coquettish, young, and flighty whereas dramatic sopranos tend to play passionate, intense, powerful roles.

During the final stretch of the evening, the composers discussed their progress with the final projects. Needless to say, we have a very exciting slate shaping up for our fall 2014 concert! Hope to see you there!

Jason Kim, librettist
October 28, 2013


MSM Opera Program to Showcase Scenes from New Opera “Decoration”

September 11, 2012

Selections from an eerie, hallucinatory new opera Decoration by Composers & the Voice fellow Mikael Karlsson will be presented by the Manhattan School of Music’s opera department in a program of new operas in March 2013. One of the “Six Scenes” performed this past weekend at an AOP showcase of various operas in development, Decoration follows the pre-apocalyptic journey of two sisters – one pregnant, one dying – and their extremely different outlooks on the future.

Composer Mikael Karlsson (photo by Anna Österlund)

Decoration scenes, libretto by the composer and David Flodén, will be performed in a staged reading by MSM voice students at Greenfield Hall as part of the annual New American Opera Previews, from Page to Stage series, hosted by WQXR’s Midge Woolsey, produced by Opera Index. The selection was made by a panel of judges including Assistant Dean of Opera Studies/Opera Production at MSM Gordon Ostrowski and Head Coach William Tracy.

The nationally recognized Composers & the Voice (C&V) is a fellowship for six composers or composer/librettist teams to work with an artistic team, headed by Steven Osgood, and AOP’s Resident Ensemble of Singers. The primary focus of C&V is to give composers extensive experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice. With each new group of fellows, sponsorships are named in honor of mentors and their support of Composers & the Voice.

Tobias Picker

Composer Tobias Picker (American Tragedy) served as a Mikael Karlsson’s “Composer Chair,” providing a one-on-one mentorship throughout the year. Other Composer Chairs during the past C&V season included John Corigliano, Daron Hagen, John Musto, Kaija Saariaho, and Stephen Schwartz.

Decoration marks the ninth presentation by MSM of opera excerpts to come out of  C&V.  Previous C&V operas have included “The Summer King” by Daniel Sonenberg, “Exiles” by Renee Favand-See, “Dream President” by Jennifer Griffith, “The Golden Gate” by Conrad Cummings, “Death in Summer” by Gregg Wrammage, “Paul’s Case” by Gregory Spears, “Henry’s Wife” by Randall Eng, and “Love/Hate” by Jack Perla, which went on to a world premiere in April 2012 in partnership with The San Francisco Opera.

Music from C&V fellows will also be programmed at upcoming presentations by OPERAtion Brooklyn and the BEAT Festival, Opera Memphis and AOP Artistic Partner The Walt Whitman Project.

“For the composers selected the implications are many and very rewarding,” said C&V Artistic Director Steven Osgood. “Each of them will have their music brought to a wider and diverse audience [and] each of them will forge relationships with major artistic institutions, which is today an increasingly difficult hurdle for emerging artists.”

Composers & the Voice is made possible in part by a generous multi-year award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Fellows in the C&V program are supported by funding from The New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and Musical Arts Fund.


AOP and ONJ Team Up for Two Operatic Monodramas

April 5, 2012

AOP and Opera New Jersey are proud to announce their second summer of collaboration with this July’s Two Operatic Monodramas, after their inaugural partnership last year with Thomas Pasatieri’s The Family Room.

Two Operatic Monodramas –  featuring The Wanton Sublime, by composer Tarik O’Regan and librettist Anna Rabinowitz, and Our Lady, by composer Gregory Spears with texts from medieval Provençal – examines the human and mythic aspects of the Virgin Mary.  Both monodramas will be presented as staged readings on July 21st and 22nd at McCarter Theater Center in Princeton, NJ.

 The Wanton Sublime will feature mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn raising questions about Mary’s role as the “eternal feminine.”  Countertenor Ryland Angel joins AOP once again to sing of Mary’s sorrow and love in Our Lady, following two performances of the same work in Fall 2011.  Conductor Steven Osgood will lead an ensemble of strings and keyboard under the stage direction of Crystal Manich.

AOP and ONJ present

Two Operatic Monodramas

Our Lady by Gregory Spears
The Wanton Sublime by Tarik O’Regan & Anna Rabinowitz

July 21 at 2 p.m.
July 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Buy tickets online or call Opera New Jersey at (609) 799-7700.


Composers and the Voice 2011/12 – Workshop Day 1

September 16, 2011

And they’re off!  Monday, September 12 was the first day of the Composers & the Voice 2011/12 Workshop Series, and it was a long invigorating day.  More on that below.  This blog post, and the ones that will follow more or less every 2 weeks, are intended to serve two purposes.  First, they will provide an ongoing forum for discussion and reflection by the 8 Composer and Librettist Fellows, as well as the Artistic Team— a place where ideas and questions that came up during the workshop session can be investigated further.  Second, these blog postings will provide the greater AOP family, and new opera enthusiasts everywhere, a glimpse into our workshop room.

The workshop day began at 3:00 with a quick orientation session, but then dove right into the fray with the first of our 9 Improvisation and Theater Games sessions, led by Terry Greiss of the Irondale Ensemble.  I first met Terry 23 years ago (yikes!) when I began a semester-long internship with Irondale– the final part of my undergrad degree at Drew University.  I ended up working with Irondale for close to 5 years, and so much of what I learned through my immersion in the company’s use of improv and theater games as tools for generating theatrical material, as well as building strong cooperative teams, continues to have a profound influence on my day to day work today.

In Monday’s 2-hour session Terry led us through the following games:

Terry Greiss

Instructor Terry Greiss leads an improv session while composer Sidney Marquez Boquiren and C&V Artistic Director Steven Osgood listen.

Zip Zap Zop

Mind Twist

Chair Tumble

One Word Story

One Word Fairy Tale

String of Pearls

Upside Down Drawing

One Word Letters/Scenes

Tell Me about the Time

My advice to the Composer/Librettist Fellows going into this course of Improv study was to dive in, play the games, and not to worry about how this all relates to the writing process.  It was great fun to sink into the high-energy full body challenge of Zip Zap Zop, and Mind Twist.  I found Chair Tumble to be an intriguing look at how difficult it is to TRULY risk falling down.  One Word Story, One Word Fairy Tales, and String of Pearls had our group of 10, who had just met an hour earlier, building stories together with the freedom to respond intuitively.  I think I was messing with the CD player when Terry was giving instructions to Upside Down Drawing.  While everyone else copied surprisingly skilled portraits of Igor Stravinsky, I was having a blast more or less coloring mine in.  Ah well….  One Word Letters/Scenes and Tell Me about the Time got us all out of our heads, and investigating a greater freedom of telling a story.

Soprano Andrea Arias-Martin sings

Soprano Andrea Arias-Martin sings for the 2011-12 composers & librettists.

After the dinner break we were joined by the Music Directors and Singers who we will be working with throughout the season.  Each of the singers had about 25 minutes to sing and dissect three arias that they feel are perfectly suited to their particular voice.  I love this session, and the look it gives into how each singer approaches singing, how difficult it can be to express in words this most elusive of physical acts, and how wonderfully these particular singers can articulate the process.  It is the crash-course part of Composers & the Voice, after which things relax a little as each composer gets to write for the singers one by one.  Once 10:00 rolled around, it was time for a glass or two of Riesling.

Next Session– September 26.  Just composers and librettists.  Improv 2, and Acting 1.


Composers & the Voice Returns to AOP!!!

March 4, 2011

Hear ye, hear ye, come one, come all!  Composers & the Voice returns to AOP this fall!

It’s true, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.

American Opera Projects is proud to announce the sixth season and reintroduction of our Composers & the Voice series, with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  We will select 6 composers or composer/librettist teams for a year-long fellowship, working with the company’s Resident Ensemble of Singers and Artistic Team.  The primary focus of the series is to give composers and librettists extensive experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage.  Longtime Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood will lead the workshop series.

The 2011/12 series is being expanded to incorporate training for composers and librettists in acting, improv games, and libretto development.  Eight New Works Sessions will take place approximately every 4 weeks, and will focus on vocal writing.  An additional series of Skill Building Sessions will occur approximately every 2 weeks throughout the season.  There will be a total of 15 workshop sessions between September 2011 and April 2012.

AOP is encouraging applications from both composers working alone, and composer/librettist teams.  Composers and librettists applying jointly need not have prior collaborative projects.

Interested in applying?  Here’s what to do…

  • visit the C&V website, where you can pick up application materials
  • email us at info@operaprojects.org with any additional questions
  • the application deadline is May 27, 2011

We hope to see you there!


Listen to AOP and 400 years of opera on Symphony Space Live

April 8, 2010

Symphony Space orchestra

Symphony Space‘s streaming music site is offering audiences a chance to revisit their Wall to Wall Opera festival from 2007 that

explored the world of Western opera over the past 400 years, from Baroque to contemporary. Highlights of the day included a Master Class in bel canto with legendary soprano, Renata Scotto; the “Opera Matinee” featuring the New York City Opera Orchestra conducted by Gerald Steichen; performances by members of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artists Program; scenes from American operas performed by Encompass New Opera Theatre, new operas performed by Center for Contemporary Opera, Music-Theatre Group and American Opera Projects…

AOP’s contribution to this tour of opera history was scenes from Tarik O’Regan‘s Heart of Darkness conducted by Steven Osgood. You can hear this excerpt from Heart of Darkness, which will have its world premiere at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio in 2011, along with the other Wall to Wall performances throughout the month here at Symphony Space Live.


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